The Finance Ministry’s Green Paper on the Natural Resource Fund has come in for scathing criticisms from several local and international anticorruption advocates.
Oil and Gas Consultant and former Presidential Advisor, Dr. Jan Mangal is just one who has spoken against the excessive control the Government will have over the Fund as articulated in the document. He has even criticized the Government for failing to make any provisions for independent evaluators in the Green Paper.
Faced with these and other criticisms recently, Finance Minister, Winston Jordan said he is simply “tired of all the people who know what is wrong but have nothing to say about how Government can improve.”
The economist told the Guyana Standard, “The Green Paper is not perfect. It is just a reflection of our thoughts, of how we are thinking. What we want are solutions. If you think that we should get independent or external auditors then suggest where we can find them and how we can get the money to pay them.”
He continued, “I will just give you a brief example, it was brought to our attention that we have the Auditor General’s Department listed as one of the entities that will audit the Fund. The people complained that the AG’s office is already understaffed and he won’t be able to do the work. It was suggested that we start rounding up the moneys so that the AG’s office can hire an international company to do it and I told them I agree. We are prepared to help the AG’s office…”
Jordan added, “We want transparency and accountability and we are not closed off to criticisms, to ideas that will help us.”
The Finance Minister said that anyone desirous of sharing ways and means by which the Green Paper can be improved can feel free to submit them to the Ministry of Finance.